National / International News

'Many exposed' to Mali Ebola girl

BBC - 3 hours 48 min ago
Health officials fear many people have been exposed to Mali's first Ebola victim, a girl who showed symptoms while travelling and has since died.

Two US Ebola nurses free of virus

BBC - 3 hours 50 min ago
Two nurses infected with Ebola while treating a patient in Dallas are declared free of the deadly virus, a day after the first infection in New York.

UPDATED: Police Deputy Killed, 2 Others Shot By Assailant In California

NPR News - 3 hours 58 min ago

One bystander was also shot by. After an hours-long manhunt, police apprehended a 34-year-old suspect.

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Fighting The Stigma Of Ebola With Hugs

NPR News - 4 hours 2 min ago

When President Obama and Dr. Anthony Fauci hugged Dallas nurse Nina Pham on Friday, it was as much to combat the stigma surrounding the deadly virus as to celebrate her survival.

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Denton, Texas debates a fracking ban

Part of the reason for the recent tumble in oil prices is the surge in production in the U.S. – namely, natural gas.

The process to extract it – fracking – is not universally popular. A referendum on the upcoming ballot deep in the heart of Texas, in a town called Denton, would ban fracking. 

Marketplace's Scott Tong has been reporting from Denton this week. 

"Drilling proximity to people's homes is the issue," Tong said 

But how Denton residents feel about that drilling hinges on whether or not they own the mineral rights for their land. Those who do are collecting tidy sums from oil companies, who pay for leases to drill there. Those who don't see long days of loud activity 80 yards away, with little compensation.

Proponents of fracking are worried that a ban in Denton, only affecting 100,000 or so people, would invite copycats throughout the state of Texas. Likewise, other countries with significant shale formations are watching to see the health research and policy reactions that come out of Texas's fracking boom. 

Residents who oppose fracking are vocal, speaking frequently with reporters. They're worried about unintended consequences: loud noise, pollution, and trucks moving in and out, diminishing the quality of life. The supporters have pored big money into opposing the referendum through ads and advocacy, but rarely put faces to those views. 

For Hospitals, Doing More On Ebola May Mean Less Elsewhere

NPR News - 4 hours 10 min ago

The majority of hospitals are training their staff to care for Ebola patients, a survey finds. But infection control specialists say that can mean losing the capacity to handle more common infections.

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Police: Remains Found Near Charlottesville Are Those Of Hannah Graham

NPR News - 4 hours 12 min ago

The search for the University of Virginia student spanned weeks. Police have charged a 32-year-old man with abduction.

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Body of UK-born student identified

BBC - 4 hours 12 min ago
Authorities in Virginia identify the remains of a British-born university student who disappeared last month after a night out with friends.

Fulham 3-0 Charlton Athletic

BBC - 4 hours 24 min ago
Hugo Rodallega scores twice as Fulham beat Charlton 3-0 to move out of the Championship relegation zone.

Russia 'helped Yanukovych to flee'

BBC - 4 hours 29 min ago
Vladimir Putin says for the first time that Russia helped Ukraine's ex-President Viktor Yanukovych to flee after he was ousted in February.

Munster 14-3 Saracens

BBC - 4 hours 35 min ago
David Kilcoyne scores the only try as Munster defeat last year's beaten finalists to top European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 1.

Nadal confirms the end of his season

BBC - 4 hours 59 min ago
Nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal calls an end to his 2014 season as he prepares to undergo appendix surgery.

When You've Seen Subway Rats, Ebola Seems Like Nothin'

NPR News - 5 hours 24 min ago

New York has no time for fear-mongering and wild speculation about the spread of disease through their city. They're too busy crafting the perfect "Ebowla" joke for Twitter.

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Bahrain F1 complaint 'merits probe'

BBC - 5 hours 33 min ago
A complaint that human rights regulations were breached when the Formula 1 Grand Prix was staged in Bahrain "merits further examination", a UK government panel says.

Shooting At Washington School Leaves 2 Dead, Including Gunman

NPR News - 5 hours 45 min ago

Television images showed students running out of the Marysville, Wash., high school with their hands up. A local hospital said it had received four victims; three of them are in critical condition.

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Egypt: 29 killed in Sinai attacks

BBC - 5 hours 58 min ago
At least 29 Egyptian soldiers are killed in a suspected jihadist car bomb attack and a shooting, Egyptian officials say.

Fashion Police: Why Are You Wearing Rubber Boots In Liberia?

NPR News - 6 hours 4 min ago

Like most people in Monrovia, our correspondent is constantly washing her hands with chlorinated water. But her booted feet are drawing strange looks.

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In Southeast Turkey, A Long History Of Bloodshed And Worship

NPR News - 6 hours 6 min ago

A vast plain near Syria is no stranger to military carnage. But a place known as "Potbelly Hill" holds ruins built in ancient times, possibly for ritual purposes, long before organized religion.

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Tracking Ebola's digital footprints

Dr. Craig Spencer was treating Ebola patients in Guinea two weeks ago. He now is in isolation at Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan after showing symptoms of the disease himself. Health officials are telling New Yorkers not to worry, and that Ebola is a difficult virus to contract – requiring contact with body fluids from an infected person while they are showing symptoms, including fever and diarrhea.   

All the same, those officials are continuing to retrace Spencer’s steps through the city to see who might have been exposed to the virus. They have Spencer’s own account as a starting point, but they’re being helped by the multiple electronic checkpoints of life in the city. 

From our commute on the subway, to buying our morning coffee with a credit card, to that Uber ride and of course Facebook updates, we are all leaving a digital wake as we move through the physical world.

“There’s a whole field of digital epidemiology harnessing these new digital data streams like digital exhaust for purposes of public health,” says John Brownstein, associate professor at Harvard Medical School. 

Spencer took an Uber to the Gutter bowling alley in Brooklyn, for example.

“You can get access to the driver, distance [and] location that driver went to, the other passengers of that vehicle,” Brownstein says.

Credit card histories are obvious logs of a person’s location. But there are less obvious sources of information as well.

“We’ve looked at people’s access to free wireless networks, and we could tell when two people were close to one another and how they move around the city based on their access to social networks and we can model the spread of disease,” Brownstein says. That information is usually aggregated to study movement of large groups and transmission of disease, but it could also be used to trace individuals.

Smartphones especially leave digital trails far beyond simple call logs or even GPS data.

“That phone is doing a bunch of things for us,” says Gavin Manes, CEO of digital forensics firm Avansic.  Not only is it regularly checking with the phone company for texts or voicemail messages, it is interacting with third parties. 

“If you work for a business, you are probably have an email account connected to something like Microsoft Exchange,” he says. “Every so often your phone is making sure it still has the connection and reporting to that server what its IP address is and its approximate location.” While a phone company may keep its logs of a user’s location for only a few hours or a few days, the logs on email servers – or Facebook servers or Twitter servers – persist much longer. 

Even digital keychains used to lock or unlock a vehicle can send information that can be picked up, says Mane.  When you point your keyfob at your car and click to unlock it, that message can be picked up by another car of the same make. 

There is one big caveat to using all this data.

“It’s not easy and it’s not automatic,” Manes says.

Take the subway, for example. It’s possible to detect what subway card was swiped at a turnstyle right after a sick person’s.  From there, an investigator may have to go to a subway card machine’s records to determine what credit card number was associated with that subway card.  From there an investigator will have to connect a name to that credit card number, which will probably involve going through a credit card company.     

“There is no computer in someone’s basement that’s automatically tracking that material together,” Manes says. This is because none of these data sources was designed to track people for the sake of tracking people. 

“This tracking data, it’s not like these systems were developed for that purpose, it’s a byproduct of the system needing to function,” Manes says. “When we can triangulate someone’s cellphone, it’s not because we designed the cellphone system to be able to do that, it’s a byproduct of the need of the phone company to know where someone is so they can know which cellphone tower for them to talk to.”

The data is big, and so is the city.  Sifting through both is a monumental task. 


New chapter in Duracell's history

Proctor & Gamble announced Friday it was planning to spin off Duracell.


Smithsonian historian Eric Hintz shares the story of the battery company, which got its start back in World War II.



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